Katherine (Kass) Ann Lear
Katherine (Kass) Ann Lear died September 26, 2020. She was born in Bellevue, Nebraska on May 2, 1958, one of five children of Bob and Theresa Lear. The family moved frequently, following Bob's career in the Air Force. After Bob retired from the military in 1972, the family settled in Hollister, Missouri, where Kass graduated as valedictorian of her high school class in 1976. She earned a full "Pershing" scholarship to Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri for her undergraduate degree, and completed a Doctor of Medicine degree at the University of Missouri in Columbia, MO. Kass eventually moved to Springfield, MO.
Kass considered her greatest accomplishment to be bringing up an intelligent, articulate, thoughtful, and loving daughter, Zealon Gentry-Lear, who has just started her freshman year of college on the west coast. She certainly did raise a wonderful daughter, but she achieved so much more in her lifetime. She loved practicing medicine, including working as a private practitioner, assisting the LGBTQIA+ community and rape and abuse victims, as a company doctor at City Utilities and Paul Mueller, and at the U.S. Medical Center for Federal Prisoners in Springfield. She consistently spoke publicly on issues of health and women's rights. She was also a master gardener and had a "hobby" of fixing everything.
Here is an excerpt from Kass' will. This is the lively, teasing Kass that we will remember: "Hey, Gang! Now that I'm dead, the truth can finally be told. I was really a black, lesbian Harley Davidson rider, and I only pretended to be 'middle America' all these years. HA! Really just kidding, but I didn't want you to take all this death stuff too seriously.… I really want to come back as a cat, and loll in the sunshine and roll around in people's freshly planted gardens…"
Kass, you have impacted all of our lives, showing us that it's good to question the status quo, to be kind and generous to others. There was no better mother, sister, doctor, gardener, or fix-it woman on the planet. We will miss you dearly.
There will be no funeral. The family is planning a virtual Celebration of Life on the afternoon of Saturday November 28 to share stories of Kass. To participate, please email (email@example.com) by Wednesday, November 18 for more information.
In lieu of flowers, please consider donating to Harmony House, Rare Breed, or The Kitchen, in her name. These organizations all assist people in need in Springfield. Even better, in Kass' memory do something kind for someone less fortunate.
Published in News-Leader from Oct. 19 to Oct. 25, 2020.